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Focus: Soil organic carbon

A collection of Nature Geoscience papers highlighting how disturbances across a range of environments and ecosystems are changing whether carbon is stored, mobilized or released in soils.

Latest Research

  • Article |

    Some valleys in the southern highlands of Mars may have formed by subglacial erosion, consistent with a cold and icy early Mars, according to a statistical analysis of valley morphometry.

    • Anna Grau Galofre
    • , A. Mark Jellinek
    •  & Gordon R. Osinski
  • Perspective |

    Dynamic interactions between chemical and biological controls govern the stability of soil organic carbon and drive complex, emergent patterns in soil carbon persistence.

    • Johannes Lehmann
    • , Colleen M. Hansel
    • , Christina Kaiser
    • , Markus Kleber
    • , Kate Maher
    • , Stefano Manzoni
    • , Naoise Nunan
    • , Markus Reichstein
    • , Joshua P. Schimel
    • , Margaret S. Torn
    • , William R. Wieder
    •  & Ingrid Kögel-Knabner
  • Review Article |

    A review of the organic carbon cycle explores the interactions between the Earth’s surface and deeper reservoirs, the expanding inorganic controls on the organic carbon cycle, and how these links have strengthened through geological time.

    • Matthieu E. Galvez
    • , Woodward W. Fischer
    • , Samuel L. Jaccard
    •  & Timothy I. Eglinton
  • Article |

    Carbon-rich Pacific deep water extended into the South Atlantic some 38,000 to 28,000 years ago, potentially contributing to a reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the onset of the Last Glacial Maximum, according to deep-water carbonate chemistry reconstructions.

    • J. Yu
    • , L. Menviel
    • , Z. D. Jin
    • , R. F. Anderson
    • , Z. Jian
    • , A. M. Piotrowski
    • , X. Ma
    • , E. J. Rohling
    • , F. Zhang
    • , G. Marino
    •  & J. F. McManus

News & Comment

  • Editorial |

    Soils store vast quantities of carbon and have the potential to help mitigate or exacerbate climate change. We need to better understand the interplay of chemical, physical and biological processes that govern soil carbon cycling and stability.

  • News & Views |

    The Archaean atmosphere may have been well oxygenated, according to a reconsideration of sulfur cycling at that time. This challenges the view that sedimentary sulfur records oxygen-poor conditions during Earth’s first two billion years.

    • Desiree Roerdink
  • News & Views |

    Organic carbon in the top metre of Earth’s soils is far older than previously thought, averaging 4,800 years old. These radiocarbon-derived age estimates require us to recalibrate our expectations of ecosystem gains and losses of carbon.

    • Sharon A. Billings
    •  & Lígia F. T. de Souza
  • Editorial |

    Nature Geoscience aims to publish important science, but the journal also strives to offer a platform to voices driving change within the geoscience community. We welcome submissions on community issues that encourage reader engagement and inspire action.

  • News & Views |

    Compositional signatures of subducted crust in the deep-mantle sources of ocean island volcanoes in the Atlantic Ocean but not the Pacific reveal that plate motions on Earth’s surface influence the characteristics of Earth’s deepest interior.

    • Richard W. Carlson

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